Wednesday, December 14, 2005

awestruck by the beauty of it all

Stephen and I had a wonderful hike on Mt Seymour the other day. The weather was glorious (from a photographer's perspective): clouds and fog mingling with a winter sun.

There was some fresh powder on the ground, too. It was November 30th, the last day of the month, and the last day we had fresh pow...

I took this photo with Stephen's marvelous Canon EOS-1Ds MarkII and his new 15mm fisheye lens

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

snow monsters come out to play

golden hour

evening glow on seymour, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

winter is back!

seymour drama, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Friday, November 18, 2005

evening after the storm

evening, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Olympic National Forest, WA, USA

olympic wonder

wonder, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

connectedness between the water and surf

I sat, mesmerized, on a large log and snapped photos at high-speed shutter setting.

sometimes, I was lucky to catch a sight like this

I wish I could have captured the sound of the ocean - it was like having a giant 747 readying for takeoff, a few feet away. Deafening - yet exhilarating.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

hozomeen mountain, WA

hozomeen mountain, wa state, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

North Peak of Hozomeen (8066ft) The remarkable double summit of Hozomeen, closely E of upper Ross Lake and S of the International Boundary is one of the classic landmarks of the North Cascades.

Though not of regionally outstanding height, the solitary location, vast local relief and steeply pitched walls of the massive and spectacular summits, make the mountain unforgettable.

ross lake winter landscape

hozomeen landscape, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Ross Lake in BC/WA is drained every winter - beginning in September, at the rate of about a foot a week.

The landscape that is created as a result of this is almost surreal. Miles and miles of stumps - with no other litter - can be seen from the Canadian and US shores of the lake.

We happened upon this desolate vista during a photo trip to the Hozomeen range.

Awe-inspiring, solitary, intensely beautiful.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Friday, October 07, 2005

living in yaletown - arts and culture

Living downtown means that there's always interesting events nearby. Last night I visited the Roundhouse, where the Sawubona exhibit was held. There was American Native drumming and dancing, then African drumming and dancing followed. Beautiful artifacts were hung on the walls, created from reclaimed and recycled objects. Absolutely beautiful surroundings, and a wonderful way to spend an evening with friends.

number 38

number 38, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

living in yaletown - sunrise

sunrise in yaletown, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

living in yaletown - sunset

sunset september 9 iv, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

black tusk with mt. garibaldi behind

Photo taken from the high pass to the left of Rainbow Mountain. Below us, Gin and Tonic Lakes.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Pulling into Indian Arm

A happy couple and their Jack Russell Terrier pull into Thwaytes Landing.

Canadian Coast Guard ships on the other coast practice their manoeuvres on Indian Arm.

Peaceful waters

, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

An overcast day, still waters, thousands of jellyfish coming up for a breather.

What a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Stupid Uses of Technology

Three stories - once ancient, one from last week, one from yesterday - about stupid uses of great technology. (1) Many years ago, I travelled to Mexico to manage a proposal for a large cadastral project. The idea behind the project was as follows - with the new government bringing in a new political framework, families who had worked for generations on a piece of land (latifundia) now would finally have ownership rights to a part of this land. At last! While in the country, I was meeting with various government bureaucrats about the use of satellite-imagery geographic information systems for the purposes of this project. There was one meeting that I will never forget. While waiting in the lobby for this minor bureaucrat, I had been reading some of the brochures that were prepared by another government department for this project. Because a sizeable number of people in the rural areas cannot read, or, if they can, only a small number read Spanish, the instructional booklets about the new program are prepared in comic-book form. That afternoon's bureaucrat was sold on this initiative! As a matter of fact - he suggested - let's show each family a satellite photo of the land that they had been working on. If they can identify, on the small grainy image, where their plot of land was located, then they will be granted ownership rights! Otherwise, the land reverts to the state! I kept a brave poker-face while I explained to him that if the people can't read, chances are they have never seen their land from above - let alone be able to discern it from a satellite's point of view. I don't think that he could understand this. Or that he wanted to. (2) During the Katrina disaster, the following was posted to Metafilter: ...the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision to ask evacuees to call (800) 621-3362 or browse to to start the process of filing a claim for disaster assistance was greeted with disbelief by most relief workers we talked to, who noted that most of these people don’t have ready access to telephones. It turns out, according to a Red Cross worker here, the response is even a bigger Catch-22 than I realized. It turns out, according to the worker, who like the other aid workers spoke on condition of anonymity, that the call to the FEMA number does not open a claim; it results in a package containing the claim form being mailed to the address of the evacuee. Since the evacuee is in a shelter, mail service has been suspended in many of the hardest hit areas and some of the homes are likely still under water, it seems clear that those claim forms won’t be mailed back any time soon. (3) Earlier this week, I attended a meeting in a well-known local teaching institution, with presentations from faculty about new projects. One of the faculty was very enthusiastic about a new web site that he was creating. During his younger years he had worked with CUSO (in the US a similar organization is US Aid). He had helped African villagers fix water wells, and was particularly interested in solutions to detect the presence of iron/rust in drinking water. So this person's project was a mentoring web site, where fellow experts and he could share their water management expertise with villagers in Africa. In particular, this web site could be used as a mentorship tool, to teach the villagers to help themselves and monitor their water for toxic substances. Didn't it occur to him that the villagers do not have access to the Internet? "But there are internet cafes everywhere" he countered, and added: "I've been around!" Hmmm, perhaps. However, do the villagers know how to read? And, when they do - can they speak English? Research and development departments are replete with great technological innovations. But if the human element is missing, or if they are targeted to the wrong audience, they are destined to fail.

Monday, August 29, 2005

skyline and hozomeen

skyline and hozomeen, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

what a magnificent view, from the summit ridge of Silverdaisy Mountain!

is this view lonely or welcoming for you?

black tusk, brandywine meadows and me

Hozomeen, Hozomeen

And Jack Kerouac said:

Hozomeen, Hozomeen, most beautiful mountain I ever seen, like a tiger sometimes with stripes, sunwashed rills and shadow crags wriggling lines in the Bright Daylight, vertical furrows and bumps and Boo! crevasses, boom, sheer magnificent Prudential mountain, nobody's even heard of it, and it's only 8,000 feet high, but what a horror when I first saw that void the first night on my staying on Desolation Peak waking up from deep fogs of 20 hours to a starlight night suddenly loomed by Hozomeen with his two sharp points, right in my window black - the Void, every time I'd think of the Void I'd see Hozomeen and understand - Over 70 days I had to stare it.

Jack Kerouac, Desolation Angels

Sunday, July 03, 2005

fragile edge of the trail


by the trail, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.


thistle, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Hanging on

Pine Cones

pine cones, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Marmot near Heather Trail parking lot

marmot near parking lot, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Isn't he adorable?

Not camera-shy either.

I am certain that he's used to having his picture taken several times a day.

Looking down - near Three Brothers Mountain

Heather trail is a rolling gentle trail with an average 3% grade. It skirts a nice little dropoff near the trail junction to Three Brothers mountain.

It's a long way down to the meadows and forests to the North of the park.

Rich descending from Big Buck

The hike to Heather Trail, on July 2nd, took us into very high country. The hike itself is very easy - most of the altitude is gained by driving up to the trailhead (@ 6,500ft). This is a long hike over two mountain passes, through spectacular meadows and dwarf trees

Paul and Three Brothers mountain

paul and the brothers, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

On Saturday July 2nd, Paul Rich and I drove to Manning Park to hike the Heather trail. I can't recall an occasion where I used my camera in MACRO mode so much!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

howe sound islands

howe sound islands, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

I spent a blissful day putting 600km on my car's odometer, and driving roads where it had never been before. Lovely to bounce around twisty highways when there are no speedtraps.

I took Highway 1 to Hope, then to Lytton, then Highway 12 to Lillooet, then returned home through Pemberton and Whistler with Highway 99.

I finished the day with a lovely dinner with a good friend in Squamish, then took a few photos of Howe Sound in Porteau Cove long after the sun had set.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Fairhaven Sunset

fairhaven sunset, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Last weekend I went for a run near Chuckanut WA. Claire and I ran 11 miles (2,000 feet of elevation gain) then jumped back into the car, visited REI for a quick browse (maps for me) then drove down Highway 20 to connect to the Mountain Loop highway.

A beautiful day - the sun was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds, with nary a drop of rain.

The Pacific Northwest is rich with history - gold rushes, mining claims, years of logging... then other industries appeared, people moved away, and these older pursuits - and older towns - became abandoned.

People move on, and leave behind small towns - reducing some of these to ghost-town status (if they ever had a name at all).

Meanwhile, other areas thrive - in the early 1900s, the towns of Fairhaven and Whatcom merged to become Bellingham.

During the last two weekends I've visited a few far-flung small towns: Skookumchuck in BC, Concrete and Oso in WA state. Here are only three small towns with memories of former grandeur. How many more there are! With histories that may go silent if no one take cares to record them.

Some towns are taking action - Bellingham is actively restoring its historic Fairhaven buildings, with real estate prices rising swiftly and angry letters to local papers about 'condofication'. An evening stroll through Fairhaven reveals old buildings from the late 1800s, lovingly restored and put to good use.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I'm Going In !!

I'm going in, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Sometimes, in life, you just gotta jump in.

Skookumchuck Church Of The Holy Cross

So picture this.

You drive for several hours: from Vancouver to Whistler, then past Whistler to Pemberton - take a right at Lillooet Lake, then follow the lake, then down Little Lillooet Lake, then down Lillooet River... 300km of wilderness, of rainforest, of distant glaciated mountain peaks.

You come across this.

A 100-year old Gothic Church, built by Native artisans under the direction of Roman Catholic Oblate Fathers.

A Fitzcarraldo moment.

Members of the In-SHUCK-ch Nation allowed us into their Church - it was Sunday, after all. We were free to look at (and photograph) anything that we wanted, but were asked to please respect the tombstones in the large cemetary behind the Church.

There are more photos of the Church in my Flickr stream, just click on the photo above and follow the links.

Gothic Graveyard Near Skookumchuck

graveyard, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

This beautiful small cemetary, with its own gothic arch and carved wooden headboards rendered in a wonderful folk art manner, is found about 8km away from Skookumchuck.

It features very old gravestones built from early to mid-20th century.

Skookumchuck has its own cemetary - which leads me to wonder, why a separate one for a small group of people?

When we drove again past this graveyard an hour later (after a visit to Skookumchuck) we noticed that there were beautiful fresh flowers on some of the graves. Although this graveyard is isolated, it is still visited and protects the remains of people who are remembered and well loved.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Tetrahedron Fog

fog, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

The best-laid plans to get away are scottled by rain. Not just any rain - but sleet, fog, hail, gale-force winds and snow.

What a terrible weekend. We only hiked 9km over two days.

Yet, it was refreshing to be away from the computer, away from the phone - away from anything that rings.

A good friend, two nice strangers, great conversation, a cabin far away in the woods.

And weather that the fiercest of GoreTex testers could not arrange. Mud all over!

purple heat

slow-motion heat, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

A warm fire awaits as the first day of the long weekend finally ends

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

paddling towards north beach

towards north beach, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

some days, I just want to leave the world behind and surround myself with wilderness. Such an opportunity came up last Sunday, when Steve and Andrew invited me for a paddle on Buntzen Lake. Steve and his family used one canoe (white clipper in the photo below) while Andrew and I canoed in his agile green craft.

It feels powerful and liberating to dig deep with one's paddle, push the water away, and propel oneself forward.

It was raining - hard at times. There was hardly anyone else on the lake (perhaps two other kayaks in a five-hour time span?)

It was quiet - I could hear each individual raindrop hit the lake, bounce, then sink into the depths of Buntzen. This reminded me of listening to the thin sheath of ice, melting over Falls Lake near Zoa, a week before. As Yogi Berra would probably say, you can hear a lot when it's quiet.

Paddling with new friends, exploring distant cliffs - invisible from the well-known and well-trodden trail - floating over shallow shores and barely submerged logs.

It was a rainy, quiet afternoon underneath a white tarp, with the surprise of burgers, bbq and beer awaiting us.

Smiles, planning and laughter - a peaceful afternoon. Then an energetic paddle back to the South Beach of Buntzen, and a drive home.

Such peace.

vancouver spring - stay away

little buntzen power station

flooded lake waters near floating bridge

flooded lake waters, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Garibaldi and the Chief from Darrel bay

I spent a lovely day on Saturday at Henrietta Lake. We took the ferry from Darrel Bay to the Woodfibre pulpmill, then walked 6km on a logging road to access a bridge. The trail from there on is beautiful - mossy, with old trees nearby - and ascends quickly to the lake.

There's still snow on the lake, yet, with warm temperatures and longer days, it will soon be gone.

We never saw anyone on the trail - complete quiet. A perfect way to decompress from the week's stress.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

a steady presence

Originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Somedays when deadlines descend upon me like a tornado, it's good to run away for forty minutes, and run as fast as I can to kick that excess adrenaline out.

I usually take refuge on Vancouver's seawall - the most beautiful waterfront in the world.

Here's the inukshuk that greets me at the 1.5 mile turnaround - the Vancouver Inukshuk, erected in time for Vancouver's World Fair show in 1986.

For me, it's a marker - a distant milestone that I strive to reach, in ever-decreasing time, a happy presence with historic value, a monument that I've seen and touched for fifteen years of my life in Vancouver

It gazes peacefully upon the open ocean, while I retrace my running steps towards home, a smile on my lips.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

jesper kenn olson and I

jesper kenn olson and I, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Meet Jesper Kenn Olson.

On January 1, 2004, Jesper started a round the world running journey from Greenwich UK, and ran from England to Scandinavia, from Scandinavia to Russia to Siberia... then across Japan, and across Australia (from Perth to Sidney) then from Los Angeles to British Columbia Canada.

He arrived in Vancouver today.

Tonight, a small party was organized at a friend's house, to honour Jesper Kenn Olson's dream and his achievements. Jesper Olson plans to run from Vancouver to Montreal, and from there he will end his journey in New York.

What an amazing human being - he runs 50km a day, pushing a baby jogger that contains his trip belongings. He is self-supporting in this adventure, his objective is "One Earth - 26000km - 2 years - 1 runner"

More about Jesper Kenn Olson here

Saturday, April 16, 2005

under a mushroom sky

under a mushroom sky, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Another wonderful run - this time around Buntzen Lake. Rain greeted us in the parking lot - by the time we reached North Beach, the clouds were merely sprinkling now and again. By the time we reached the floating bridge near South Beach, the sun was out, caressing our cheeks. Lovely morning for a run - 8km and 100m net elevation gain

Sunday, April 10, 2005

bear paw print

bear mark
Originally uploaded by seawallrunner.
this young bear tracked the trail of a man who hiked up here, a week ago.

Within each of the man's (older) footprints, there was a (recent) pawprint of a bear. The bear was quite careful about placing his feet into the footprints of the man before him. Never once did he stray.

We followed the trails until the bear's trail disappeared in the forest.

Bears have very large territories, so in all likelihood this bear was already a few mountain ranges away when we tracked *him*

antler fungi

more antler fungi
Originally uploaded by seawallrunner.
Sometimes it's the smallest of beings that are the most beautiful. To wit, these antler fungi. No taller than two centimeters, they sprout small white flowers during the summer.

[ Near kilometer 12.5 on the Alouette Mountain trail ]

Sunday, April 03, 2005

rainy majesty

rainy majesty
Originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

mossy trees at Pacific Spirit Park today

Running Training Has Begun Again

1:45 hours in Pacific Spirit Park today, in the driving rain. I'm surprised at the upgrades on the trails, my favourite puddle-farms now feature almost cement-like gravel fillings. The trail from the bottom of Sword Fern and Marine all the way to the beginning of Spanish is now filled with little rose pebbles, worn stiff by daily commuter cyclists. Cleveland, Salish, Sasamat... all are filled in and feature nary a puddle in sight. I almost felt cheated. But the views didn't disappoint - lush moss-covered trees, deep dark evergreens, the smell of fresh earth drinking in the morning rain. Did I mention the rain already? Driving, relentless, cold and refreshing. Just what a reborn runner really needs

Sunday, March 20, 2005

double rainbow

double rainbow, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

a double rainbow ends the weekend, after two solid days of rain

sunset drama

sunset drama, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Even after a weekend of solid rain, the sunsets can be spectacular. Here's an example...